It's a major fear for many dog owners: your canine companion just got a mouthful of something toxic. If your dog just ingested something potentially poisonous, you'll need to act fast and get it out of his system. Of course, a trip to the veterinarian is always recommended, but if you can't make a visit work, some home remedies will help your dog throw up the bad stuff. One of these methods is inducing vomiting in dogs with salt, but does it work, and is it safe?
When to make dogs vomit
When a dog eats something that doesn't sit right with his stomach, he'll usually vomit to rid his body of whatever is disagreeing with him, sometimes with the help of a mouthful of grass to get things moving. If your dog has ingested something toxic, however, you may want to help him throw up sooner than later to prevent possibly harmful side effects. According to WebMD, dangerous foods for dogs include grapes and raisins, onions, raw dough containing yeast, macadamia nuts, gum that contains the sweetener xylitol, and of course, large amounts of chocolate.
That said, the best way to assure that your dog is safe after ingesting a toxic substance is to take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Some dogs, like pug-nosed breeds, can asphyxiate on their vomit, so you'll want to be sure he's in good hands if inducing vomiting is needed, suggests Pet Health Network. Of course, if a trip to the vet isn't possible, for instance, if the ingestion occurs late at night or you live hours away from a vet's office, you can take matters into your own hands if you absolutely must. Inducing vomiting in dogs can be done when needed, assuming you use the proper ingredients, many of which can be found in most households.
Inducing vomiting with salt
Will salt make a dog throw up? In most cases, yes, it will. One way to induce vomiting in your dog is to feed her a half teaspoon of salt, which will not only taste awful but will usually result in regurgitation. To administer salt effectively and safely, Dogs Cats Pets suggests tilting your dog's head back, opening her jaw, and placing the salt on the back of her tongue before releasing her mouth so that she can swallow. If no vomiting occurs within about three minutes, repeat the steps and the dosage. If she doesn't vomit after that, discontinue the salt technique and get her to a doctor as quickly as possible.
Salt won't always make a dog vomit, however, and if your dog doesn't, she could be at risk for further complications. Dogster advises against inducing vomiting with salt because too much salt consumption can lead to additional health issues, including an upset stomach, kidney failure, and even neurological problems or death. Hydrogen peroxide is a common alternative to salt, and while it can come with its own set of complications, like gastrointestinal ulceration, it is considered to be the best DIY bet among many veterinarians. To administer peroxide, Dogs Cats Pets recommends a dosage of one teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide for every 10 pounds of body weight.
Ipecac for dogs
Another trick many people consider is ipecac, an over-the-counter syrup created and sold to induce vomiting in humans. Sometimes, people will use ipecac to assist their canine friends, although there are several things to consider before dosing your dog with this syrup, says Pet Place. It's recommended that ipecac is not administered to a dog with heart disease or who has difficulty breathing. Additionally, if your dog has already started vomiting, or if your dog has ingested corrosive materials, like household cleaners, ipecac shouldn't be given. For anyone with no other choice, it's recommended that your dog is given .5-to-1 milliliter of ipecac per pound of his body weight. If the syrup works, there are usually no adverse side effects; if it doesn't, ipecac ingestion can lead to heart toxicity, and so should only be used as an absolute last resort.
Whatever the measure you may need to take, it is always recommended that you consult your veterinarian for proper dosage instructions, and to be sure that your dog is healthy enough to withstand at-home induced vomiting.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.